PTB has curated a selection of ABA titles that we consider essential reading for BCBA® exam prep and ABA practitioners in general.

Ethics for Behavior Analysts

by Jon S. Bailey and Mary R. Burch

An ethics staple. If you’re a student or already board certified, this should be on your desk or bookshelf. This book is great for exam prep which has been utilized across many Task Lists, and is equally useful for board certified individuals. Many BCBA®s use this as a reference tool to navigate day-to-day ethics questions and concerns. Make sure you have the 4th Edition version.

Applied Behavior Analysis

by John Cooper, Timothy Heron and William Heward

Considered the ABA bible, it is the main study source for the Big exam and is used in almost every ABA coursework sequence. Most people prepping for the Big exam probably already have it. The new 3rd Edition version came out recently, offering the most comprehensive coverage of the 5th Edition Task List out there. If you’re studying ABA or practicing ABA, you should have the most current version of this textbook on your bookshelf. 

Behavior Analysis for Lasting Change

by G. Roy Mayer, Beth Sulzer-Azaroff and Michele Wallace

Another comprehensive textbook covering the 5th Edition Task List, this is not as commonly utilized in the ABA course sequences as the Cooper textbook. However, it’s a close second. It is a great resource for students and practitioners alike. We love this book. Although it’s probably sacrilegious to say, we often prefer the explanations in this book to the Cooper book. This is a great exam prep resource.

Building and Sustaining Meaningful and Effective Relationships as a Supervisor and Mentor

by Linda A. LeBlanc, Tyra P. Sellers and Shahla Ala’i

A necessity for BCBA®s aspiring to be effective and culturally sound supervisors and mentors. Students will discover some applied coverage of Section I of the 5th Edition Task List, and already certified individuals will find this to be a useful resource, at any point in their careers. Although a clinical behavior analytic resource, it has the unique feature of taking a very personalized and relational approach to supervision, calling into action compassion and humanity.

Fieldwork and Supervision for Behavior Analysts: A Handbook

by Ellie Kazemi, Brian Rice and Peter Adzhyan

A must-have resource, intended for trainees but of equal value to BCBA®’s aspiring to be competent and effective supervisors. This handbook offers a structured, comprehensive, and practical approach to supporting trainees as they embark and go through the supervision and exam prep process of getting certified and building their professional competence. There is also applied coverage of Section I of the 5th Edition Task List.  Already a BCBA® supervisor? This book is full of tangible materials that will only improve your supervisory behaviors.

Claimed by BF Skinner as his most important work, this book, as the title states, is all things verbal behavior. A great resource if you find yourself needing a deeper dive into the verbal operants. If this wasn’t required reading during your ABA coursework, do yourself a favor and spend some time with this book. It is a great resource for comprehensive coverage of Sections B-14 and G-11 of the 5th Edition Task List. This should be on every behavior analyst’s bookshelf.

If you want to pass the Big exam, you have to understand the concepts and principles of our field. To ensure that your understanding is broad and generalized, we recommend you explore a variety of sources that define and analyze the science of behavior. This textbook, although not recent, comes from one of the most published and influential voices of our science, a voice you should be familiar with and understand. We often refer to this textbook for another take on some of the basic principles. We especially love chapter 6, “Common Errors in the Use of Behavioral Terms”. Great for anyone struggling with the Task List vocabulary.

Multiculturalism and Diversity in Applied Behavior Analysis

edited by Brian M. Conners and Shawn T. Capell

We’ve included this book in our “Books We Love” collection to get the word out. First of all, we are very proud that one of the editors and several contributing authors are former PTB students. Still, more importantly, we love the messaging and the profoundly needed focus on diversity topics in our field. This is an amazing resource for anyone who studied under the 4th Edition Task List or prior, and therefore was not exposed to a lot of diversity-based education. “Section 1.07 of the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts is Cultural Responsiveness and Diversity” calls on behavior analysts to actively engage in professional development activities to acquire knowledge and skills related to cultural responsiveness and diversity. This is a great start to honoring this responsibility for students and BCBA®s alike.

Although this is not a recently published book, we have found that it has aged very well and remains a valuable resource for expanding our knowledge and understanding of Sections H & I of the 5th Edition Task List. The book outlines evidence-based approaches to ensure treatment integrity, and offers step-by-step descriptions for the successful implementation of support plans by front-line staff. This is a great supplement for anyone studying for the exam whose context of practice is outside of the applied realm of behavior analysis.

Principles of Behavior

by Richard W. Malott and Kelly T. Kohler

Another textbook that covers the concepts and principles of our science. While not commonly utilized in the ABA course sequences, it’s a great reference if you need clarification or more examples. It doesn’t dive as deep as the Cooper or Mayer textbooks, but we have found many great explanations and breakdowns in this and the previous version of this textbook. Consider it a helpful supplemental exam prep resource for anyone who feels like they need more content.

We love a workbook. They evoke active learning, and that is how we like to learn. This workbook is an extremely valuable tool for newly minted BCBA®s. It is the first resource that tackles the recently introduced supervision requirements for new BCBA® supervisors. Tyra Sellers and Linda LeBlanc are leaders in the subject of supervision and mentorship. Their literary contributions will make you feel as if you were lucky enough to have been supervised by them. The Consulting Supervisor’s Workbook: Supporting New Supervisors is a great follow-up for anyone who takes on the consulting supervisor role. 

We love a workbook. They evoke active learning, and that is how we like to learn. This workbook is an extremely valuable tool for BCBA®s interested in acting as consulting supervisors for BCBA®s in their first year of certification. It is the first resource that tackles the newly introduced supervision requirements for new BCBA® supervisors. Tyra Sellers and Linda LeBlanc are leaders in the subject of supervision and mentorship. If you want to be an effective consulting supervisor, we recommend you take a page out of their workbook. And then be sure to grab a copy of The New Supervisor’s Workbook: Success in the First Year of Supervision for your newly minted BCBA® supervisees. It’s a great way to set the stage for a meaningful supervisory relationship.

The Supervisor’s Guidebook: Evidence-Based Strategies for Promoting Work Quality and Enjoyment Among Human Service Staff 2nd Edition

by Dennis H. Reid, Marsha B. Parsons and Carolyn W. Green

A time-tested work you should have in your BCBA® arsenal. This guidebook covers all things Section H & I of the 5th Edition Task List. These authors are evidence-based supervision pioneers, making it a terrific resource for exam prep. You will continue referring to it throughout your BCBA® careers, as a guide to ensure staff are well-trained, continuously supported, and motivated to provide quality services for anyone receiving ABA treatment. ed, and motivated to provide quality services for anyone receiving ABA treatment. 

Experimental design can be the number one source of stress for students preparing for the Big exam. Justifiably so, since most test-takers don’t possess a lab-based EAB background. However, passing the Big exam requires a solid foundation and understanding of experimental designs and experimentation. This research is behind all the technologies we utilize to promote behavior change. While there are many books out there on the subject, we endorse this one. It’s straightforward and ties experimental design to other Task List areas, such as assessment, defining target behaviors, and measurement. If you are afraid of Section D of the 5th Edition Task List, Experimental Design, add this book to your study resources.

Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis 2nd Edition

by Jon S. Bailey and Mary R. Burch

Passing the Big exam requires a solid foundation and understanding of experimental design and experimentation. This book offsets test-taking fears and helps beginner researchers become acquainted with these seemingly foreign subjects. It is practical with easy-to-understand explanations for conducting applied research and submitting it for publication. For exam candidates intimidated by Section D. of the 5th Edition Task List, Experimental Design, this is a vital resource.

Handbook of Organizational Performance

by William K. Redmon, Thomas C. Mawhinney and Carl Merle Johnson

A perfect example of an older text that has aged well. The editors and contributors are some of our field’s most renowned experts in performance management. This work touches on the fundamental principles of behavior and learning, like operant and respondent conditioning, verbal behavior, reinforcement, and rule governance. It connects these principles to performance management activities and is a fantastic resource for Section I of the 5th edition Task List.

Aubrey Daniels is a leading expert on human behavior in the workplace related to management, leadership, safety and general workplace issues. This book perfectly utilizes the principles of behavioral science to facilitate effective personnel supervision and management. In fact, it was one of the original resources for what is now Section I of the 5th Edition Task List. With this most recent edition, it continues to be incredibly useful for exam prep and throughout the career of anyone whose job includes behavior analytic supervision and performance management. 

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